Tag Archives: intellectual

Pakistan’s leading intellectual, Prof. Parvez Hoodbhoy on the rise of jihadi terrorism and its acceptance in Pakistan

Courtesy: News Click In » via – Twitter (TF’s tweet)

Video in Urdu/ Hindi – Tracing the Roots of Religious Extremism in Pakistan – Dr. Mubarak Ali

Intellectual and historian Dr Mubarak Ali is a prolific and versatile writer who has produced around fifty books on issues ranging from the Age of Reason in Europe to the women’s movement and the history of South Asia.

The objective of this seminar series is to understand the roots and dynamics of religious extremism within the context of Pakistani society, which could be referenced to evolve a strategy for de-radicalization of youth. Scholars will be invited to deliver talks in Urdu (Hindi). The talks will involve a small audience with the key purpose to record and disseminate the lecture widely among the youth.

For further details, visit the related link at IPSS website:
http://peaceandsecularstudies.org/?p=790

Another Pakistan

Pakistan Aslant: the two-hour version

by Chris Lydon

We’ve just put the finishing touches on a two-hour distillation of our long-running series of late summer and early fall, “Another Pakistan.”

The first hour explores the living history and swirling, murky present of “the country that could kill the world …” In the second, I’m probing the “Roots of Resilience,” the vital cultural and intellectual currents that we don’t hear about in the standard coverage, but that still run strong under the fractured state.

There’s nearly a month’s worth of strong conversation here illuminating for me the judgment that (1) Pakistan is not about to destroy itself, much less go away and (2) that Pakistan’s mutually-abusive marriage with the United States is not about to end, either. When our Pentagon accuses the Pakistan’s army intelligence of targeting American troops, and when Secretary of State Clinton is openly torn between war and peace initiatives in the tribal areas, count on it that the contradictions of the Pakistan story are with us for a while. But what’s the history unfolding here? How did it come to this? What do Pakistanis say?

So here is a start at the answers to these questions, gleanings from the artists, writers and thinkers who so often point the way through confusing and disturbing times.

Read more » Radio Open Source

Sindh is indivisible says senior journalist, writer, tv host, analyst and intellectual Sohail Waraich

Senior journalist, writer, tv host, analyst and intellectual Sohail Waraich is popular for his non-partisan analysis. Sohail Waraich is the most respected name in Pakistani journalism. In his whole life, Sohial Waraich was known as a friend of Sindhis & Balochs and supporter of oppressed nations of Pakistan.

In his book Ghadaar Koun, he revealed many facts about the life and political career of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He has conducted interviews with a number of high-profile celebrities and political figures.

Courtesy: Geo Tv News (Meray Mutabiq with Sohail Waraich – 30th July 2011)

via → Siasat.pkYouTube

Pakistan Intellectual Forum hails US Congressmen for approving funds for Sindhi language programming

PIF hails US Congressmen for approving funds for Sindhi language programming

ISLAMABAD, July 27 (APP): Islamabad-based Sindhi writers, intellectuals and broadcasters have hailed the US Congressmen for their unanimous consent to the Amendment to Foreign Affairs bill for Sindhi language Programing. In a literary meeting held here in a local hotel under the auspices of Pakistan Intellectual Forum (PIF) Islamabad chapter on Wednesday, the writers expressed profound thanks to the US Congress’s Foreign Affairs Committee that has approved the funds made available to the Voice of America, $1.5 million be used only for Sindhi language programming. On July 21, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) offered an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.

On behalf of the people of Sindh, we the Islamabad-based intellectuals, writers, poets, researcher and linguists would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Congressman Brad Sherman and others for their tribute to the Sindhi language and unanimous consent to the amendment” said Hashim Abro of Pakistan Intellectual Forum ( PIF), Islamabad.

Hashim Abro said that this historic amendment reflects America’s unshakable commitment to promote one of the richest languages of the world which has produced a plethora of poets and proponents of harmony, peace and tolerance.

Above all, it is the language of sanctity, sagacity, intellect, newness, dynamism, depth and humility. Sindhis are born sufis and moderate. These are global citizens and treat humanity as “One Family” and who keep the humanity above all religions because they believe that to love an to be loved, to respect and to be respected is the key concern of all religions.

Dr. Hyder Sindhi said that the Sindhis in Sindh, Balochistan, and in other parts of the Pakistan and the globe regard Brad Sherman and other Congressmen not only as their well-wishers and promoters of Sindhi language but “Messiah’ for their language.The people of Sindh and Sindhi diaspora will always remain indebted to them throughout the ages.

Dr. Khadim Hussain Soomro, a noted researcher on peace and harmony said, “The Sindhis are truly grateful to the US Congressman, particularly, Brad Sherman and Mr. Rohrabacher, for this lofty move. We can say only a big “Thank You’ to US Congressman for their momentous move and futuristic vision”.

Around two hundred writers, intellectuals, broadcasters, social and human rights activists, lawyers and others attended the meeting and all of them were all appreciative of this noble gesture of US Congressman.

Courtesy: → Associated Press Of Pakistan

Pakistan: Drifting towards fascism

Dictator Zia

by Mazhar Arif

Retreat of socialism, particularly in former Soviet Union, and rise of “Ziaism” in Pakistan depressed the progressive (Leftist) and secular forces in the country which resulted in fading of “battle of ideas” in media and educational institutions. The consequences are the general intellectual bankruptcy and emergence of media-obsessed intelligentsia and the result is the “Ziaized” elitist intellectuals are on the center-stage …

Read more → ViewPoint

Interview with Pratap Mehta on Pakistan

Pratap Mehta: Pakistan’s Perpetual Identity Crisis

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a political theorist and intellectual historian based in New Delhi, is leading us through another reflection on the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan.

The reconsideration of partition is a critical, current existential question not only for South Asians, but also for Americans who watch the continuous outrages from Taliban and CIA sanctuaries inside Pakistan. It’s a question on many levels — terrorism, geopolitics, ethnicity and religion — but, Pratap Mehta says, “it’s fundamentally the question of the identity of a country.”

In his telling of the partition story, the contemporary reality of Pakistan grew out of a failure to answer a core challenge of creating a nation-state: how do you protect a minority? It’s Mehta’s view that the framers of the modern subcontinent — notably Gandhi, Jinnah & Nehru — never imagined a stable solution to this question. He blames two shortcomings of the political discourse at the time of India’s independence:

The first is that it was always assumed that the pull of religious identities in India is so deep that any conception of citizenship that fully detaches the idea of citizenship from religious identity is not going to be a tenable one.

The second is that Gandhi in particular, and the Congress Party in general, had a conception of India which was really a kind of federation of communities. So the Congress Party saw [the creation of India] as about friendship among a federation of communities, not as a project of liberating individuals from the burden of community identity to be whatever it is that they wished to be.

The other way of thinking about this, which is to think about a conception of citizenship where identities matter less to what political rights you have, that was never considered seriously as a political project. Perhaps that would have provided a much more ideologically coherent way of dealing with the challenges of creating a modern nation-state. – – Pratap Bhanu Mehta with Chris Lydon at the Watson Institute, April 12, 2011.

Unlike many other Open Source talkers on Pakistan, Pratap Mehta does not immediately link its Islamization to the United States and its1980s jihad against the Soviets. Reagan and his CIA-Mujahideen military complex were indeed powerful players in the rise of Islamic extremism in Pakistan, he agrees, but the turn began first during a national identity crisis precipitated by another partition, the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.

Suddenly, Mehta is telling us, Pakistan could no longer define itself as the unique homeland for Muslims in the subcontinent. In search of identity, and distinction from its new neighbor to the east, Pakistan turned towards a West Asian brand of Islam, the hardline Saudi Wahhabism that has become a definitive ideology in today’s Islamic extremism.

Mehta is hopeful, though, that in open democratic elections Islamic parties would remain relatively marginalized, that despite the push to convert Pakistan into a West Asian style Islamic state since 1971, “the cultural weight of it being a South Asian country” with a tradition of secular Islam “remains strong enough to be an antidote.”

Click here to listen Radio Open Source interview with Pratap Mehta, it is much more in depth than the text summary

Courtesy: http://www.radioopensource.org/pratap-mehta-pakistans-perpetual-identity-crisis/

Why are the Jews so powerful ? By: Dr Farrukh Saleem. (The writer is a Pakistani)

There are only 14 million Jews in the world; seven million in the Americas , five million in Asia, two million in Europe and 100,000 in Africa . For every single Jew in the world there are 100 Muslims. Yet, Jews are more than a hundred times more powerful than all the Muslims put together. Ever wondered why ?

Jesus of Nazareth was Jewish. Albert Einstein, the most influential scientist of all time and TIME magazine’s ‘Person of the Century’ was a Jew; Sigmund Freud — id, ego, and super-ego, the father of psychoanalysis was a Jew; So were Karl Marx, Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman.

Here are a few other Jews whose intellectual output has enriched the whole humanity:

* Benjamin Rubin gave humanity the vaccinating needle.

* Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine.

* Alert Sab in developed the improved live polio vaccine.

* Gertrude Elion gave us a leukaemia fighting drug.

* Baruch Blumberg developed the vaccination for Hepatitis B.

* Paul Ehrlich discovered a treatment for syphilis.

* Elie Metchnikoff won a Nobel Prize in infectious diseases.

* Bernard Katz won a Nobel Prize in neuromuscular transmission.

* Andrew Schally won a Nobel in endocrinology (disorders of the endocrine system; diabetes, hyperthyroidism. Aaron Beck founded Cognitive Therapy (psychotherapy to treat mental disorders, depression and phobias).

* Gregory Pincus developed the first oral contraceptive pill.

* George Wald won a Nobel for furthering our understanding of the human eye.

* StanleyCohen won a Nobel in embryology (study of embryos and their development) .

* Willem Kolff came up with the kidney dialysis machine.

Over the past 105 years, 14 million Jews have won 15-dozen Nobel Prizes while only three Nobel Prizes have been won by 1.4 billion Muslims (other than Peace Prizes).

Stanley Mezor invented the first micro-processing chip. Leo Szilard developed the first nuclear chain reactor. Peter Schultz, optical fibre cable; Charles Adler, traffic lights; Benno Strauss, Stainless steel; Isador Kisee, sound movies; Emile Berliner, telephone microphone and Charles Ginsburg, videotape recorder.

Famous financiers in the business world who belong to Jewish faith include Ralph Lauren (Polo), Levis Strauss (Levi’s Jeans), Howard Schultz (Starbuck’s) , Sergey Brin (Google), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Donna Karan (DKNY), Irv Robbins (Baskin & Robbins) and Bill Rosenberg (Dunkin Donuts).

Richard Levin, President of Yale University, is a Jew. So are Henry Kissinger (American secretary of state), Alan Greenspan (fed chairman under Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush), Joseph Lieberman, Madeleine Albright (American secretary of state), Maxim Litvinov (USSR foreign Minister), David Marshal (Singapore’s first chief minister), Isaac Isaacs (governor-general of Australia), Benjamin Disraeli (British statesman and author), Yevgeny Primakov (Russian PM), Jorge Sampaio (president of Portugal), Herb Gray (Canadian deputy PM), Pierre Mendes (French PM), Michael Howard (British home secretary), Bruno Kreisky (chancellor of Austria) and Robert Rubin (former American secretary of treasury).

In the media, famous Jews include Wolf Blitzer (CNN), Barbara Walters (ABC News), Eugene Meyer (Washington Post), Henry Grunwald (editor-in-chief Time), Katherine Graham (publisher of The Washington Post), Joseph Lelyyeld (Executive editor, The New York Times), and Max Frankel (New York Times).

Can you name the most beneficent philanthropist in the history of the world ? The name is George Soros, a Jew, who has so far donated a colossal $4 billion most of which has gone as aid to scientists and universities around the world. Second to George Soros is Walter Annenberg, another Jew, who has built a hundred libraries by donating an estimated $2 billion.

At the Olympics, Mark Spitz set a record of sorts by winning seven gold medals. Lenny Krayzelburg is a three- time Olympic gold medallist. Spitz, Krayzelburg and Boris Becker are all Jewish.

Did you know that Harrison Ford, George Burns, Tony Curtis, Charles Bronson, Sandra Bullock, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen, Paul Newman, Peter Sellers, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Kirk Douglas, William Shatner, Jerry Lewis and Peter Falk are all Jewish?

As a matter of fact, Hollywood itself was founded by a Jew. Among directors and producers, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Oliver Stone, Aaron Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), Andrew Vaina (Rambo 1/2/3), Michael Man (Starsky and Hutch), Milos Forman (One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Douglas Fairbanks (The thief of Baghdad) and Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) are all Jewish.

To be certain, Washington is the capital that matters and in Washington the lobby that matters is The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. Washington knows that if PM Ehud Olmert were to discover that the earth is flat, AIPAC will make the 109th Congress pass a resolution congratulating Olmert on his discovery.

William James Sidis, with an IQ of 250-300, is the brightest human who ever existed. Guess what faith did he belong to?

So, why are Jews so powerful ?

Answer: Education.

Read more : Ibnmahadi’s blog

Sindh calls for separation of mosque and state

Call for separation of religion from state

SINDH – HYDERABAD, Feb 20: Leaders of nationalist and left-wing parties and prominent poets and writers have called for concrete efforts to curb fundamentalism and demanded separation of religion from state and equal rights for minorities.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Religious extremism and black laws of Zia’s regime’ organised by the “Left Unity” at the press club here on Sunday, they stressed the need for a united front comprising all secular, nationalist and progressive forces for combating fundamentalism and promoting secularism.

Renowned intellectual Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo said that after independence the Quaid-i-Azam had unequivocally declared that religion would be the personal concern of the individual and every citizen of Pakistan would have equal rights. But successive governments in the country violated this principle.

Mr Joyo called upon the working class and oppressed people to unite to protect their rights.

He said Sindhis, Balochs and Pakhtuns were oppressed nations. He said that not only “black laws of the Zia regime” but all discriminatory laws should be repealed.

Left Unity secretary Buxal Thallo said that religious extremism was a threat for the country’s progress and called upon all political parties to launch a joint struggle against fundamentalism. …

Read more : DAWN

Possibility of “revolution” in Pakistan?

Ripe for revolution? – By Mahreen Khan

…. Despite a wave of public protests, Egypt is unlikely to emulate Tunisia, due to factors also present in Pakistan. Egypt has a sharp religious divide between Coptics and Muslims as well as numerous Islamic groups pitted against each other. Arab analysts cite low levels of literacy and a general feeling of apathy and defeatism in the population as further reasons that Egypt will continue to fester rather than revolt. Pakistan has these and additional factors which militate against a revolution: deep and multiple ethnic, linguistic, tribal and sectarian fault lines; a paucity of alternative intellectual narratives, radical leaders or strong unions; and an elected government and freedom of speech. Ironically, democratic elections and free speech help perpetuate the corrupt, unjust stranglehold of the feudal-industrial power elite. Revolutionary forces require a moral impetus that illegitimate dictatorship provides but elected government does not. Secondly, frustration needs to simmer under a repressive regime until it reaches the temperature for mass revolt. Pakistan’s free media allows an outlet for public dissatisfaction. The often harsh treatment of politicians and police officials at the hands of journalists and judges ameliorates public anger. Vocal opposition parties, unhindered street protests and strikes allow a regular release of fury, draining the momentum necessary for the emotional surge that revolutionary zeal requires. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Islamofascism is a reality: Pakistan is destined to drown in blood from civil war: Pervez Hoodbhoy

The War within Islam

Islamofascism is a reality: Pakistan is destined to drown in blood from civil war: Pervez Hoodbhoy

A New Age Islam reader sent the following letter to the editor:

Here is a letter sent by Pakistan’s foremost progressive intellectual and physicist Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy to a friend:

I am sharing with you some lines that I have just written for family and friends who are warning me:

Whatever one might think of Governor Salman Taseer’s politics, he was killed this Wednesday for what was certainly the best act of his life: trying to save the life of an illiterate, poor, peasant Christian woman.

But rose petals are being showered upon his murderer. He is being called a ghazi, lawyers are demonstrating spontaneously for his release, clerics refused to perform his funeral rites. Most shockingly, the interior minister – his political colleague and the ultimate coward – has said that he too would kill a blasphemer with his own hands.

Pakistan once had a violent, rabidly religious lunatic fringe. This fringe has morphed into a majority. The liberals are now the fringe. We are now a nation of butchers and primitive savages. Europe’s Dark Ages have descended upon us.

Sane people are being terrified into silence. After the assassination, FM-99 (Urdu) called me for an interview. The producer tearfully told me (offline) that she couldn’t find a single religious scholar ready to condemn Taseer’s murder. She said even ordinary people like me are in short supply.

I am deeply depressed today. So depressed that I can barely type these lines. …

Read more : http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamWarWithinIslam_1.aspx?ArticleID=3953

Asim Akhund: Demise of a Philosopher of Sindh

DSCN0918Sindh’s progressive political movement is deprived of another activist and intellectual Asim Akhund on September 2, 2008, he died in Karachi after developing infection in heart having undergone a surgery. Asif was in his early 30s, father of two minor sons from his Russian born university colleague beloved wife.

He was a well known figure among political activists, writers and journalists and university folks in Hyderabad and Sindh in general. He was teaching Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, University of Sindh Jamshoro.

Beside teaching he was working with a Labour Party of Pakistan, prior to that he was associated with a left-wing party. He was student of Jawaid Bhutto, former head of Philosophy Dept and who now lives in Washington, and true disciple of Ibrahim Joyo. Joyo saheb has dedicated one of his book to this young intellectual.

Asim had done Masters from Moscow State University; he was a brilliant writer in English, Sindhi and Russian. His office at University and home in Hyderabad was always open to young students and political activists. Though belonging to a relatively affluent family he was generous, kind, humble and simple guy, An extra-ordinary reader of political history, literature and philosophy, above all he was very eloquent speaker with impressive communication skills both in English and Urdu.

Beside his political activities he started a first serious bi-monthly magazine in Sindhi which focused on literature and political issues along with university colleagues, magazine called “Adarsh” published some excellent research based articles, some thing rare to find in post 1990s literary and political discourse in Sindhi language.

His untimely death at young age is a huge of loss of Sindhi students, political activists and intellectual discourse in general. Lot of well-known intellectuals would stay away from him, would not indulge in debate with him because he was larger than many so called writers in Sindh, he was not a man of mainstream as he was never for fame or being counted, he was serious reader and a thinker, those who knew him, would either loved him or stayed away from him knowing his depth of knowledge.

Jawaid Bhutto turned him a progressive leftist thinker while Ibrahim Joyo influenced him greatly by making a man who loved Sindhi language, literature, culture and would strive for political freedom and national sovereignty of Sindh.

He was the only son of his parents, he leaves behind two sons, a wife and hundreds of political and personal friends, we learned a lot from him, Most of  friends were very much impressed with his ability to comprehend complex political issues and then his skill to explain them to common people.  His two historic lectures one at Karachi University’s IR dept (where after his lecture the consensus was that there was not single teacher in KU who has that much expertise on philosophy, socialism and Capitalism) and his other famous lecture he  delivered was in Press Club of Shah Pur Chakar, District Sanghar.

Despite having a foreign degree in Philosophy Sindh University never confirmed him a full-fledged lecturer, he worked on contract on salary of $100 per month, he continued teaching because he loved it, it was his life, career, earning money, making material wealth was never his concern, a selfless person, we have not seen a person of his caliber and commitment in Sindh.

We will miss you my Dear Asim, and I am sure the folks who knew you and learned from you, will continue to lighten the minds of young people for a better future.